Master's Sanctuary

SITUATION -
Ignore the effects of any Locations you have in play.  Any Locations your
opponent has in play still affects you.  (Restricted to 2)

Here is the first and only generic Master card in The Gathering set.  In it's
own way, it is nearly as powerful as Master Swordsman, the only Watcher's
Chronicle generic Master.

Game mechanics first.  Master's Sanctuary is a fairly straight-forward card.
You ignore the effects of a Location.  Your opponent doesn't.  So if you have
Lighthouse in play and one of their attacks fails, they can't dodge on their
next turn, and must discard all standing defenses.  If your attack fails,
Lighthouse has no effect.

The wording is such that you _must_ ignore the effects of a Location you have
in play.  Using Master's Sanctuary with Watcher Regional HQ or Mountain Cave
is therefore a rather poor idea, unless you want to require you use Focus
every time you benefit from one of these Locations.

Master's Sanctuary lets you ignore a Location that you have _in_ play.  It
won't let you ignore the effects of a Location that occur _as_ it is being
played.  Thus, if you have Master's Sanctuary out and play Rooftop, you will
still have all your Pedestrians and Bystanders removed.  Ditto for Ruins and
Guards.

Just as you can play Reconnaissance and still play a Location-related card
(i.e., Recon Parking Garage and play Slippery Footing), you may still play
Location-related cards even if the Location is your own, and you have Master's
Sanctuary out.

So that's how Master's Sanctuary works.  How do you use it to best effect?

Essentially, Master's Sanctuary unleashes a whole horde of new uses for
existing Locations.  Typically, if a Location is already powerful in your
deck, MS makes it even more so.

We covered Lighthouse above.  Another good example is Battlefield, one of the
more popular current Locations.  While you have Master's Sanctuary and
Battlefield in play, your opponent must discard a defense or take a point of
damage each turn.  You do nothing.  Essentially, you're playing Nefertiri at
this point, as far as Battlefield is concerned.

Factory can be equally restrictive.  While you continue to draw and re-draw
normally, your opponent cannot draw during their draw/discard phase.

Don't put too much emphasis on any strategy which involves ignoring your own
Locations due to Master's Sanctuary.  Your opponent can still use
Reconnaissance to bypass your Locations, or simply remove them by playing his
own Location or other Location-removing Events like Get Away From It All.

Other Locations?  Let's run down the list.  As noted above, Ruins and
Rooftop's immediate "removal" effect aren't thwarted by Master's Sanctuary.
Still, if you want to play Guards and Pedestrians, respectively, once you put
them in play, your opponent can have trouble.

Mountain Cave and Watcher Regional HQ are Locations you shouldn't use Master's
Sanctuary with:  you never want to ignore them.

Catwalk and Dead End Alley, with their dodge restrictions, can be handy to
ignore.  With the prevalence of Back Away/Evade-only types, a Catwalk can
seriously inhibit an opponent's ability to play nine-grid dodges.  An agile
Persona like Duncan or Amanda can use Catwalk and then ignore it.  This can
make their use of Pistols more useful.  It also keeps some opponents from
playing not only Dodge, but Master's Dodge as well.

As Jeff notes below, Jungle is a card that you _must_ ignore while Master's
Sanctuary is out.  This can be good or bad:  bad if you're using it for card
cycling (i.e., Nefertiri and her Quickening users); good if you're trying to
drain off an opponent's hand.

Using Master's Sanctuary in conjunction with Pyramid means that you know
everything that goes into their hand, while they are denied a look at your
hand.

Desert, like Pyramid, can be a major drain on your opponent while having no
effect on you.  Master's Sanctuary in conjunction with Parking Garage will let
you rearm while your opponent does not.  However, if he is Disarmed he
probably isn't able to Disarm you.

The "new" Verona isn't nearly as powerful.  However, certain Personas using it
(particularly Richie and Methos with their ability to "borrow" other Personas'
Special Attacks, often-times Masters) can reduce the chance of their opponent
playing Special Attacks they have to cope with, while being free to play their
own.

We talked about Lighthouse above.  Laundry Room from The Gathering works in a
similar fashion, and in some ways is even more powerful.  Mix with Flashing
Blade or Challenge/SE, use a multiple-attack sequence, and your opponent will
be in serious trouble.  Using Master's Sanctuary, as always, lets you avoid an
unpleasant backlash.

Master's Sanctuary and Spiritual Center are best used in cheese decks, since
it will keep your opponent from playing cheese event-damage while leaving you
free to do so.  MS plus Mental Ward can help considerably against Object-
reliant Personas like Khan, Kern, and Corda and Reno.  Supplement with
Misfortune and it will be difficult for them to get multiple Objects down.

And finally, here's an amusing if risky trick.  Use Holy
Ground/Location/Forfeit from the Movie Edition, and Master's Sanctuary.
Ignore the effects of Holy Ground, then Focus or Police Master's Sanctuary
when you're ready to escape.  This can be risky since your opponent can do the
same.  However, put both in play (or three if you use a pre-game Darius), and
it may prove a difficult tactic for your opponent to stop.  If you use
multiple MSs in this case, use Simple Mind to remove them all in one fell
swoop.

So overall, Steve gives Master's Sanctuary a _7_.  It's a powerful card,
giving you freedom to ignore your Locations.  However, its limits as a Master,
a restricted card, and a Situation balance out its strengths.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Jeff - Makes non-Nef Factory or Battlefield decks more feasible.  Note that
there's no "may" in that text; you don't have the option of having the
Location affect you (so, no Jungle cycling with it).

Hank - Master's Sanctuary opens up a lot of ideas: playing Locations like
Battlefield, Verona or Light House without consequence can be a lot of fun.
Still, it ties up a Master's Slot, always a painful thing.

Alan - Not a bad Location-control card, but inferior to Reconnaissance, in the
sense that it not only takes up a precious Master slot, but only affects your
own Locations.  Add to that its relatively high vulnerability as a Situation,
and you have a card that wouldn't see it's way in many of my decks.  Give me
Reconnaissance.

Jim - This is almost a must have for any deck that uses Locations.  This card
can be played at any time and is not removed when your Location leaves play.
As long as you control the site of the battle this card will give you an
advantage.  Mix in some Reconnaissance cards and you can use any Location
you'd like.  I expect to see more decks built around Ruins.

Wayne - Abstain

Prodipto - Abstain

Allen - A very useful card, though not as magic as it might first seem.
Usually tightly constructed decks are built with their location in mind.
Given this, Master Sanctuary is often not worth the Master slot, deck space,
and Police/Focus opportunity that you are costing yourself or granting your
opponent.  However, I still find this to be a very valuable tool in
Battlefield and Desert decks, and worth looking at in the new Mental Ward and
Laundry Room.

Bruce - Better than Reconnaissance because it takes up less space in your deck
and can work indefinitely.  Not quite as good because it uses a Master slot,
is subject to removal, and only affects your own Locations.  This will
dramatically increase the effectiveness of many Locations.  Despite its
limitations, it will be augmented by Reconnaissance in most decks that use it.
Controlling the terrain was the key to victory in many games before:  taking
Sanctuary in hostile terrain can only make that more true.

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   7
Jeff                    6
Hank                    7
Alan                    5
Jim                     8
Wayne                 N/A
Prodipto              N/A
Allen                   5
Bruce                   8

Average:                6.57

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